Sands of Time

Sands of Time by Dr. Robert Gerwig

Photo by Author

In the US, this is Thanksgiving week. Time for family, food, football, autumn leaves, and food. Lots of food! … For me, it is also a time of reflection. A time to look back and look ahead. Each year seems to go by quicker, though this is obviously only a perception as a year (aside from leap year) contains the same number of minutes and seconds every year. In other words, it is a defined amount of time. Only my silly brain thinks one year actually goes by “faster” than the previous one. It is perception and age playing tricks on me.

Today we tell time by clocks, watches, or iPhones instead of an hour-glass filled with sand. We have online access to atomic clocks located around the world that are extremely accurate and many of our watches/clocks adjust automatically. Amazing! … Though I’m dating myself, I remember when a watch purchase was a big deal. You saved up for a watch or maybe received one for Christmas. Watches weren’t something that cost $6.99 and on the candy shelves by the grocery store checkout/register.

Time is fascinating. Time bending. Quantum physics. Nanoseconds. Millennium. There are events that occur in fractions of a second and events that require decades. Ever watch a time-lapse video or a film showing something as very slow speeds (like a bullet going through an apple)? Isn’t it amazing how much we learn when time is either slowed down or speeded up significantly? We get used to events happening at their “normal” speed and are surprised when an event occurs either much slower or faster. … Remember the guy who got killed by one of the first trains because he walked in front of it without realizing how quickly it could move?

Why should YOU care about time? Well, the world-class leader or parent or spouse (etc.) has a set amount of time and many activities/tasks to accomplish. Your “To Do” list. Your “Reminders” list. Your “Honey Do” list. All these are full of items you need (or want or are required) to accomplish. Some today. Some tomorrow. Some next week.

My question to you (and what I’m reflecting on this week) is what goes on my list? In other words, what’s important to me? Do I put everything on the list? If not, HOW do I establish my priorities? Do I set them or do I allow others to set them for me? Am I in control of my time or do I allow other people to determine my schedule and “To Do” list? Do I try to “do it all” or am I realistic? Or lazy?

I find that people tend to gravitate towards one of two extremes. See if you can identify yourself. One group has long lists. They are very task oriented and everything goes on the list. Critical items AND inconsequential items. The second group doesn’t keep lists (even one). They just don’t really “do” lists. Know what I mean?

I’m not saying either is right or wrong (though somewhere in the middle seems good). What I’m asking is whether or not your choice is DELIBERATE. Do you allow margin in your life. Do you fill your schedule with TOO much? Do you put enough on a list or do you prefer to “float?”

Having an iPhone, access to the atomic clocks, and any number of activity planners will not set your priorities. Either you, or someone else, will set them for you. … As for me, I’m planning to be deliberate and conscious about what goes on my list. I want to get critical items done and leave the “noise” behind. I want to find a happy balance. I want some margin to go along with my goal achievement. How ‘bout YOU?

How do you prioritize your time? What items are critical? Which are not?

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

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